Bocce ball is perhaps the most egalitarian of sports. You don’t have to be strong or fast. Being able to dunk a basketball won’t help you here. A man has no advantage over a woman; a child can defeat an adult. It all made for an exciting event that drew lots of knowledgeable spectators to the Carnevale’s three-day tourney at Bel Air Park in Weed.
The Junior Tourney was held Thursday. In its 16th year, it featured 52 kids with ages ranging from 7 to 17. Alycia and Tatyana Greene from Yreka teamed up with Capreece and Isabella Beilke of Montague to win the 7-11 division.
Aidan Acquistapace and Natalie Grafton won the 12-17 year-old final, beating Noelle McGee and Brendan Neville, 15-6. McGee and NeVille came up through the losers bracket and defeated Grafton and Acquistapace in the first game of the finals, but they needed to win twice and dropped the last match.
Rachel Oates and Jessica Bowman of Weed won the women’s final, 15-11, over the mother and daughter team of Ronda and Lauren Gubetta from Weed. The winners finished undefeated in the tourney.
Rachel’s husband Josh Oates and Jessica’s husband Bobby Bowman made the men’s final but couldn’t match their spouses’ win, as they lost to the father and son team of Kenny and Bryce Mallory that also finished undefeated.
This was the first time in their four years competing together that Kenny and Bryce have won the Carnevale championship. They had previously placed second twice and sixth one year, according to Bryce.
Kenny Mallory won the tournament in 2015 with Chris Rizzo as his partner.
Bryce and Jake West teamed up last year and finished third.
Ron and Jason Dohrn of Weed, seven-time winners of the Carnevale competition, finished third this year.
The tourney drew heavily from the Weed bocce ball league. Bel Air Park has some of the nicest bocce ball courts in California. Visit the Weed Recreation building at Bel Air Park to borrow some bocce balls or contact the Weed Chamber of Commerce for information on the league if watching the competition made you want to toss some bocce balls.